Shall we meet to do homework? Benefits and drawbacks of studying in a group


“I have arranged to study at the library”: although skepticism is inevitable when listening to a sentence of this style pronounced by a teenager, the truth is that studying with friends can be not only more entertaining, but also more profitable .

In fact, silence and accessibility to work resources, such as the Internet, computers or reference books, are only part of the reason why students go to libraries. Many do, even if they have a perfect study space at home or in their residence, because they concentrate better surrounded by other people who do the same, even if no communication is established between them.

Sharing the study material with other people and questioning each other can be even more beneficial. In addition, a transfer from face-to-face group study to group cyber -study is being observed . Both formulas can be positive, provided that some guidelines are taken into account.

Support and perspective

Although it is obvious that at times of study it is convenient to be alone to memorize, fix concepts or do the last review before the exam, group study enriches the learning process. Offering support and receiving it allows you to strengthen and reinforce your own learning and that of others.

The group enriches knowledge and causes a more complete understanding of the concepts: it goes from an individual perspective to a collective perspective of the subject being studied.

For this to happen, it is important that the subject has been previously worked on individually, since this will enable us to discuss and expand the concepts with our colleagues.

The fact of having to explain and discuss what has been studied entails a process of analysis, comprehension and relationship of concepts, which causes learning of greater significance. By reflecting together and exchanging ideas, knowledge is better internalized.

Commitment and motivation

Another benefit is the commitment to the group: the fact of having a scheduled appointment to study will force us to stick to a schedule, make better use of time and carry out a pre-study of the concepts that we will share with classmates. The commitment goes from being with oneself to being with the group.

Motivation increases when studying in a group: the student feels more accompanied and less isolated in the process. This is because peers encourage each other to continue, and if one loses enthusiasm, the others will be there to support them.

It has even been proven that the peer group can be an important factor when a student considers abandoning or continuing their studies.

Group cyber study

The confinement and interruption of face-to-face teaching made the use of information and communication technologies essential; digital natives made the transfer from group study to group cyberstudy through different platforms in an easy and natural way, since contemporary adolescents have the ability to relate equally in both analog and digital environments.

This group work option can be appropriate and has some benefits , such as not having to travel, and the possibility of doing it in periods of isolation or at times when you are away from your usual residence. But it also has certain risks if some specific aspects are not taken into account.

More distractions

The greatest risk of group cyber-study is the very instrument with which it is carried out: a computer, tablet or mobile phone with an Internet connection, since they are also used for activities such as playing games online, participating in social networks or watching audiovisual content.

For this reason, the probability that attention is dispersed due to the “double screen” effect is greater. Multitasking, with several tabs open, divides and makes it difficult to pay full and sustained attention to each of them.

Guidelines to be effective

  1. Choose the study group taking into account aspects such as commitment and responsibility. Sometimes you have to leave fun or friendship in the background for the group to work.
  2. Have a common goal that makes all the members of the group commit and show themselves willing to work to achieve it.
  3. The number of people in the group should not be too large: this will make the organization process more agile and avoid too many distractions.
  4. Carry out individual preliminary work that will allow the group to contribute knowledge.
  5. In the case of face-to-face study, a suitable place must be found that is quiet, comfortable and spacious.
  6. In the case of the cyber study, all the members of the group must connect in a quiet place that allows them to be concentrated and interact without disturbing and being disturbed. In addition, there must be a commitment not to be carrying out any activity in parallel during the group cyber study.
  7. Previous planning: it is necessary to be clear about the content of the study, the distribution of tasks, the methodology for interventions, breaks, etc. This will guarantee the use of time.
  8. At certain times, some members of the group will be in charge of presenting and explaining the content and others of raising unclear issues and asking questions about it. The convenient thing is that these roles rotate.
  9. Discussions are an excellent opportunity to learn.
  10. Be aware that group study must be complemented with individual work.

Keeping all these tips in mind will allow studying with friends to stop being an unrealistic phrase and become a useful activity and a healthy alternative to studying alone.

Author Bio: Iratxe Suberviola Sheep is Research teaching staff of the Department of educational sciences, area of ​​didactics and school organization at the University of La Rioja